WASHINGTON (CBSMiami) – Republicans and Democrats stepped on to a Major League Baseball field and showed America’s resiliency by playing America’s pastime.
The competition was fierce, but friendly, taking on an emotional tone in the wake of a Wednesday’s shooting at a GOP practice. Four people, including House Majority Whip Congressman Steve Scalise, were shot.
Many lawmakers wore LSU hats in Scalise’s honor.
“It’s a small memento to let his family and him know that he’s beloved and we want to see him to pull through,” said Rep. Loretta Sanchez, D-CA.
Injured Capitol Police Officer David Bailey threw out the first pitch.
“I said thank you to him and hugged him. It was a very special emotional moment. I could tell it meant a lot for him too,” said Rep. Brendan Boyle, D-PA.
Democrats took the early lead, and cleared the bases in the third inning.
Louisiana congressman and Scalise’s good friend Cedric Richmond pitched for the Dems.
He had a triple in the fifth inning, and a pre-game prediction.
“Knowing Steve as well as I do, I’m sure he wants the Dems to win because he just couldn’t take the Republican team winning without him!” Richmond joked.
The Congressional Baseball Game was created in 1909 by Pennsylvania Congressman John Tener, a former pitcher for the Chicago White Stockings.
War, a Depression, and the business of the Congress sometimes forced the cancellation of the yearly game. But when the teams did play, they played hard and for keeps.
The women in Congress formed their own softball team in 1993. Rep. Linda Sanchez has played for 15 years. She said the game is a chance for them to shed partisanship.
“It’s a chance to take a break from the polarized atmosphere of legislating and just have a little bit of fun with our colleagues in something that really is our national pastime,” she said.
The bipartisan game sold a record 24,959 tickets and raised more than $1 million for charities like the Boys and Girls Club.
It also raised spirits in a way many lawmakers hope will last.
“We have had these kinds of moments before and they’ve been fleeting. I hope that this isn’t. I hope that this we can change for good,” said Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Arizona.
Whether Democrat or Republican, it seems everyone at Nationals Park was “Team Scalise.”